Photo courtesy of Photo by Mike Licht's Flickr page - First Fun Thanksgiving, after J.L.G. Ferris: https://www.flickr.com/photos/notionscapital/3062587135/in/photolist-5ECyst-5EzJoE-pVy3jb-7fpxz3-qeFTma-qKb5y-5EzLTh-8t2HcA-7zsVzq-4VHY6u-7zpaDD-8WafKb-du7kcg-94jgy5-7iaerA-bDGB8q-7gdJdk-5EvrxZ-duwNaQ-pm6cSN-ducUDh-aLNyAr-7ht9zD-7ht9Xa-7zpa6v-ducVrb-ducV2j-hVfhTm-5EvqUr-7htaaT-5EVqpB-atE2SX-hTNSE4-5EWeaq-b6wAht-dvD2CZ-kT8u2c-8W85un-dZVCSd-72vahj-qoZEZF-5EH4Nm-5Evw3k-dZVCCq-dkMSGo-8WmYaF-dZPVCv-dkMQxe-dkMzWc-t8GEw
Creative COmmons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
A year ago, I wrote what may very well have been the best Guardian Liberty Voice article authored by me yet.
It was not read by too many people, I suspect. But that said, it was a good, solid article that explored the fascinating history of this holiday. I received compliments from the few people who I knew for sure had read the article, such as the editor.
So, it seemed appropriate to publish it (or the link to it) yet again this year. Hope you enjoy!
I have wanted to do a history of the Thanksgiving holiday for a long time now. For whatever the reason, my assumption was that this had already been done to some extent on this blog page before but, when I checked earlier today, this was proven not to be the case.
Here is the thing about Thanksgiving: it is a great holiday, yet it also represents something terrible. That makes it a paradox, really. Let me explain.
The first time that I really came to understand the depth of the anger by Native Americans regarding the holiday was a number of years ago, after reading an article from Ward Churchill. He mentioned that celebrating Thanksgiving was essentially an insult to the native people, and that, in fact, it should be a day of mourning.
Since then, I have done further explorations, and even asked one native during a Pow Wow a couple of years or so back about it, and the answers have more or less been the same: Native Americans feel that this holiday represents an insult to their people, and a constant reminder that the holiday that we tend to think represents friendship and cooperation between Indians and Pilgrims actually represents the beginning of the end of their culture and traditional way of life.
For a little while, I was even entertaining the idea of abandoning the holiday, although this never actually came to pass.
Because it is a nice holiday, with a noble meaning, even if the holiday that it falls on is a bit tainted with history. But in researching for this article, and listening to Suzan Shown Harjo, as well as reading so0me of the arguments of those that went to Plymouth today to protest the holiday, made me realize that what needs to change is not perhaps the holiday itself, or what it is supposed to represent. Rather, what needs to change is the common misunderstanding about the origins of Thanksgiving, and why, specifically, natives find it offensive and representing something far more sinister than most popular perceptions.
If you are interested in finding out more, please start by reading my article by clicking on the link below, but also, do some of your own research. This is an important issue, and any American that feels some measure of patriotic duty should understand this history better, in order to come to terms with the darker aspects of our national past.
Also, one thing that bothers me about this holiday, or more this holiday weekend, is that it is immediately followed by Black Friday, which is perhaps the single day when, more than any other date on the calendar, represents our society's excessive greed and mindless consumerism. The fact that this comes literally the day after we are supposed to take time out to be thankful for all that we have been blessed with in life and that, furthermore, Black Friday is increasingly encroaching on the Thanksgiving holiday itself, is the height of hypocrisy. It suggests that there really is something wrong with this society, and we would do well, I think, not to simply shrug our shoulders or ignore it. We should recognize it, own up to it, and individually, refuse to participate in "Black Friday" deals and shopping, particularly with those stores that are trying to open up on Thanksgiving itself.
As I was driving past some malls earlier this evening, at an hour when the malls are usually closed and the vast parking lots normally deserted, I sighed at the sight of those parking lots almost filled to the brim. Thanksgiving was not yet officially over, and people surely were still feeling that heaviness from a huge dinner, and the fatigue from eating all of that turkey. Yet, so many people were out and about, hoping to horde as many great deals as possible, even though many retail stores jack up the prices prior to Black Friday before marking them down with significant seeming savings. It all seems so shady, such a scam, and it is more than a little disappointing to see greed win out on the part of all participants of this event.
Personally, I want absolutely no part of Black Friday, and urge any and all of you out there not to have anything to do with it, either. But ultimately, of course, that choice is yours to make.
Would have liked to get this published earlier. However, Thanksgiving is usually chaotic, between working overnight, getting a few hours of sleep, then eating a late Thanksgiving lunch with family, before going further south to meet my girlfriend, and head towards the place we have gone to the last three years. It has been a busy day, with very little time, as well as limited access, to the internet. So, I post this when I can.
Here is the link to my article, and I do hope that you take a look:
Thanksgiving Has a Controversial History